Ted Kennedy Memoir: Faith Has Always Been My Foundation

The late senator wrote that his faith was always "my foundation and my inspiration."

By + More

By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Flipping through Ted Kennedy's new memoir, True Compass, I was struck by a passage in its final pages in which the late senator writes, "My faith, and the love of following its rituals, has always been my foundation and my inspiration."

As my story draws to a close, I am living with cancer. And I know that I will die with it and likely from it. But I don't dwell on that. I have good days and not-so-good days. But more than a year after my diagnosis, I have not spent a day in bed. With Vicki's constant help and encouragement, I follow a healthy diet and continue to do moderate exercise. I look forward to going outside every day, rain or shine, to breathe fresh air. I tire more easily than before and need extra rest, and I sometimes use one word when I mean to use another. Still, I continue to sail, as much as the weather allows. And I pray.

All of my life, the teachings of my faith have provided solace and hope, as have the wonders of nature, especially the sea, where religion and spirituality meet the physical. This faith has been as meaningful to me as breathing or loving my family. It's all intertwined.

My faith, and the love of following its rituals, has always been my foundation and my inspiration. Those foundations have been shaken at times by tragedy and misfortune, but faith remains fixed in my heart, as it has been since my childhood days. It is the most positive force in my life and the cause of my eternal optimism. I have fallen short in my life, but my faith has always brought me home.

For almost fifty years, I have represented people who are facing injustice or pain. Life can be violent and grim, but I think of the Resurrection and I feel a sense of hope. When I've started down a spiral of depression or negativism or loss, I've been lucky enough to be able to see another side that can catch me on the way. I believe that if you have a warm and embracing heart, faith can have a powerful impact on your outlook. Vicki has been a great source of strength and love because we share this underlying belief and faith.

  • Read more about Ted Kennedy's faith.
  • Follow Dan Gilgoff on Twitter.